Canada pledges $10M humanitarian aid to Israel and Gaza as flights depart

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On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada is providing an initial $10 million in humanitarian aid to address urgent needs in both Israel and the Gaza Strip. Trudeau, however, did not comment on whether he supports a United Nations warning asserting that Israel is in violation of international humanitarian law.

“The situation on the ground is volatile,” Trudeau told reporters in Yellowknife.

Simultaneously, the first evacuation of Canadians from Israel was successfully carried out earlier on Thursday. A total of 130 Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or their family members were transported from Tel Aviv to Athens via a military flight.

Canadian officials reported on Wednesday that approximately 700 individuals in Israel, with a connection to Canada, have requested assistance in leaving the country since the outbreak of violence last Saturday. The Canadian federal government has indicated that each of its military flights has the capacity to transport up to 150 passengers. Normally, Canada does not employ military air transportation while commercial flights are still in operation, but the government acknowledged the difficulty people are experiencing in obtaining commercial flight tickets.

In response to the ongoing conflict, Israel has been conducting airstrikes in Gaza as a retaliatory measure against the weekend assault by Hamas militants. This group has governed Gaza since 2007 and was responsible for the loss of hundreds of lives during the weekend, including within homes and at an outdoor music festival. The Associated Press reports a total casualty count of at least 2,700 individuals on both sides of the conflict.

The situation in Gaza has been further complicated by Israel’s cutting of access to water and power, which the United Nations has warned constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law, as it restricts access to basic necessities. Humanitarian organizations have reported difficulties in delivering food, electricity, water, and medical supplies to the territory, exacerbated by restrictions imposed by Hamas itself. Prime Minister Trudeau refrained from expressing his stance on whether Israel is complying with international law in its current actions but emphasized Canada’s efforts to work closely with other nations to safeguard lives. He pointed to the actions of Hamas, which Canada designates as a terrorist organization, as a major contributor to the ongoing conflict.

Additionally, the International Committee of the Red Cross has called on both Hamas and Israeli officials to allow humanitarian access to Gaza, positioning itself as a neutral intermediary capable of providing essential supplies and facilitating communication between hostages and their families. Trudeau has also urged Canadians to remain united and calm amid tense protests, emphasizing the importance of standing together during challenging times.

(Source: The Canadian Press)

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